Every woman has a story. A day she will never forget. She knows where she was, what she was doing, and how the news was delivered. For some it begins with the discovery of a lump and the subsequent worry. For others, it begins with a routine screening that ends up not quite “routine”. Women remember the moment they got the call or were told the news, and so often, everything that was said after the words “You have cancer,” becomes blurred, unheard, and unprocessed.

I was going to look forward. I wasn’t going to look back. I wasn’t going to give cancer prominence in my life. It was not going to be my disease. It was going to be a diagnosis but not my disease. —

That moment and those words are the dividing line between life before cancer and life after cancer. Will life ever be the same? Suddenly there are questions to ask, medical research to conduct, appointments to make, and decisions about treatment to be made. It’s important to understand the specifics of your cancer diagnosis. This enables you to take the first steps

Every woman can tell you her story, because it is the stitching that binds the tapestries of her before cancer and her after cancer lives.

“You have breast cancer.” For many, once they hear the word “cancer”, they believe that their life will never be the same. It’s hard to articulate what those words feel like and what we equate them with. Cancer is such a frightening word. Many of us immediately equate “the c word” with death, chemotherapy, hair loss, nausea, and in the case of breast cancer, losing our breasts.

We view cancer to be a formidable enemy, and we believe ourselves needing to engage in a battle, a war. After the initial shock subsides, it’s important to recognize that cancer is a journey, not a battle. There are many reasons to be hopeful. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of women living healthy lives beyond breast cancer. It’s important to understand your diagnosis, the specifics of your cancer, and your treatment options. The “c-word” is a challenge. Surround yourself with the best medical team and focus on taking one step at a time